The State of the Church 2018


The current State of The Church matters because it’s all about God’s church and what God is doing in the world today.

“And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hell will not overcome it.” Matthew 16:18

The church of Jesus grows when we trust Jesus by taking great risks and believing that Jesus is still changing lives. The church of Jesus has changed the whole planet! In effect, Jesus was saying, “Hell will not prevail against the advance of God’s army!”

A missionary named C.T. Studd said, “Some people want to live within the sound of church bells, But I want to run a mission a yard from the gates of hell!” The Church is a Rescue Mission. Jesus’ mission was to seek and to save the lost, and that’s our mission too.

The Connection Church began with a dream for a church where
  • Lives are changed
  • Real needs are met
  • Families are strengthened
  • Godly leaders are developed
  • People are loved
  • God is worshipped with passion

Victories we are Celebrating from 2017:

  • We partnered with the City of Buda with over 60 volunteers for the community Easter Egg Hunt.
  • 2,147 people attended our Easter services!
  • 505 kids were a part of our Mega Sports Camp
  • 1580 were at our first Costume Party.
  • Over 2000 people attended our Christmas Eve services.
  • Almost 25,000 volunteer hours were given in 2017.
  • 260 people serve on our Dream Team!
  • Our first KonnectionKidz Camp Chaosome had 125 campers!
  • GirlTime Women’s Ministries held our first Chosen Women’s Conference with 160 ladies.
  • The GirlTime Red and Green Gala served 250 ladies!
  • 8 of our Celebrate Recovery leaders went to training at the National Convention in Orange County, California.
  • 77 people completed our entire Growth Track and 205 people took at least one step through Growth Track.
  • Our Go! Mission Team traveled to Guatemala where this year we fed a healthy meal every school day of the year to over 50 children in Agua Zarca, and added a new village: Plan de Avila/El Reparadero where we are also feeding those kids.
  • We also threw a Christmas Party for the children of Agua Zarca, Plan de Avila and El Reparadero.
  • We continue to sponsor and support kids through Metro World Child and Compassion International.
  • To help with Hurricane Harvey Relief, we sent relief teams to Beaumont, and sent multiple trailer loads of supplies to Austin Disaster Relief; a semi-truck full of supplies went to Beaumont, and provided backpacks for students in Beaumont.
  • We assisted over 60 families in our local community financially in 2018 with needs such as
food, gasoline, rent, utilities, and medical assistance. 
We provided Thanksgiving meals for about 150 people.
  • We provided Christmas gifts for 68 kids of 
incarcerated parents through Angel Tree.
  • We strengthened our partnership with HaysCISD by providing 2 teacher appreciation meals for the faculty at Wallace Middle School; provided backpacks to send kids back to school with needed supplies; and adopted the Impact School where we are mentoring the boys and girls in leadership each week and provided 32 pairs of headsets for their education.
  • We welcomed 791 first time guests, which we call our VIPs!
  • Even though we cut out donuts for the month of October, we still managed to eat 24,300 donuts.
  • 101 people went public with their faith in Jesus through baptism!
  • This year, we broke through the 1000 mark and since the start of The Connection Church, we’ve baptized 1023 people!!!

The Biggest step of the year was certainly launching The Connection Church San Marcos! We are now “One Church in Two Locations!”

  • This started with us remodeling the San Marcos campus!
  • We had a huge community FallFest event to kick off the launch.
  • 247 people attended the launch on the very first day.
  • 86 Dream Team members attended the Christmas party in San Marcos to celebrate!
  • 4 Baptisms in San Marcos in its first 3 months!

We exist to reach people with the life-changing power of Jesus!

In 2018 We Will:

Break some Rules!

People ask us, “How far are you going to go to reach someone for Jesus?” Our answer is, “As far as we can, without sinning.” Jesus went all the way to the Cross. So we will do Whatever it Takes.

The last seven words of the church are: “We’ve never done it that way before.”

God wants to renew you:

Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy. Ephesians 4:23-24

Build our Connections through Connection Groups and Service!

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. Acts 2:42-47

This is the original blueprint for the Church! They connected in worship services and in small groups. This is how we grow in our relationships. People also get connected by serving. Our service strategy is to Serve a Service and Attend a Service. You grow in your relationships in the trenches, when you are getting your hands dirty and you experience challenges, some conflicts, and victories.

Bringing people to Jesus is the natural outgrowth of a healthy church.

Bring more people to Jesus in 2018 than ever before!

Did you ever think about why we get to have another year in front of us? Jesus said there’s one reason in Matthew 24:14:

And this Good News about the Kingdom will be preached through all the world for a witness to all people; and then the end will come. Matthew 24:14 (GNT)

The reason we get to see 2018 is so that more people will be brought to Jesus, and more people will be in heaven for eternity.

Our job is to bring people to Jesus. Andrew, one of Jesus’ disciples, was a really good bringer. The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ). And he brought him to Jesus. John 1:41-42a

We need to be like Andrew. Who will be in heaven because of you in the coming year?

Believe God can do anything!

God wants to do more in your life than you do. We are going to have BIG faith to trust that God is going to do through us things that are so far beyond us that people will look at us and say, “No Way!” And we will say, “It happened because God can do anything!!! And we just are going to take Him at His word in Ephesians 3:20:

God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, His Spirit deeply and gently within us. Glory to God in the church! Glory to God in the Messiah, in Jesus!
Glory down all the generations! Glory through all millennia! Oh, yes! Ephesians 3:20 (MSG)

God’s vision for The Connection Church has captured our hearts. We see:

  • A church with a come-as-you-are culture where people are welcome and feel comfortable, no matter their background to experience God’s grace and truth through creative services with messages that are biblical and practical and music that is modern and relevant.
  • A church that loves children and builds a strong spiritual foundation for a successful life. Where students have a blast in a dynamic youth ministry that meets them right where they are and lets them know they matter to God. Where families are healed and marriages are strengthened.
  • A church where people gather in homes all over our area to grow in their walk with God and in their friendships with each other in relationships that will last a lifetime.
  • A church that is serving our community and lifting people out of hopeless situations into a life of hope and purpose.
  • A regional church for people between Austin and San Antonio.
  • A church that is raising up a generation of godly leaders who will influence our nation.
  • A church that is going around the world to spread the Good News.
  • A church that starts many other churches to impact their region for Christ.
  • A church full of committed followers of Christ who will do whatever it takes to see God’s vision become a reality in our lifetime.

 Dream Big God-sized dreams where God has to come through in a Big Way!

Cole Phillips

I’m a Connector, linking people with God and with others to experience the kind of life God has planned for them.

I am the founding and Lead Pastor of THE CONNECTION CHURCH in Buda, Texas. I previously served in churches around the state as youth pastor and as pastor before moving to Kyle in the Spring of 2004. I love to lead people to connect with God and those around them and thrive on changed lives. I earned a doctorate in missions and evangelism with an emphasis on church growth. My heart beats for helping people connect with God and connect with others in an authentic community of faith.

I love listening to and making music. I also enjoy hanging out with my family. Pam and I have been married since 1991 and we have two daughters, Makenzie and Bethanie. We are planting our lives in Hays County and allowing God to build a great church through us.